journalism

First Look: Adaline’s “The Noise”

It’s time to admit it. Success in the music industry isn’t always based on talent — a large part also depends on image. Hell, sometimes even image alone can make you, talented or not.

Adaline, however, has plenty of both. The artist, born Shawna Beesley, has more than enough talent to go around. Her live performances and presence overflow with a cool sort of confidence, stylish and hip but not pretentious and overbearing. It’s the perfect storm and a music label’s dream.

This comes across clearly in Adaline’s new music video for “The Noise”, the latest single off her sophomore album, Modern Romantics. The storyline of the video, while a bit abstract, speaks to the context of relationships and looks at the environments where we foster emotional connection. In a city filled with noise and the buzzing of society, where’s the romance?

Of note is director JP Poliquin, who also directed Adaline’s last music video for “Whiter/Straighter.” Poliquin does a great job with “The Noise” and it’s clear he’s a director to follow in the future.

Adaline, “The Noise”
From Modern Romantics (2011)

Adaline – “The Noise”, Modern Romantics (2011)
Director:  JP Poliquin; Production Company:  The Field
Executive Producer:  Cherie Sinclair; Producer:  Jason Aita
DOP:  Todd Williams; Editor:  JP Poliquin
Choreography:  Sidney Leeder
Dancers:  Sidney Leeder, Monica Calzaretto, Milda Gecaite, Katherine Rakus, Randi MacQueen
Male Lead:  Ted Puglia
Hair and Makeup:  Luisa Duran; Stylist:  Muska Zurmati
Label:  Light Organ Records

Feature photo and screen captures by Stephanie Ip.

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Review: Like Crazy

In the most recent issue of Converge Magazine, I did a review of Like Crazy, a film starring Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones. I saw the movie at VIFF 2011 and really enjoyed it. Check out the review and if you’ve seen the move, let me know what you think.     -Stephanie

Originally published in the Nov/Dec 2011 issue of Converge Magazine.

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LIKE CRAZY (2011)
Director: Drake Doresmus
Writers: Drake Doremus, Ben York Jones
Starring: Anthon Yelchin, Felicity Jones

Like Crazy (2011)

LIKE CRAZY is the story of a British girl and her American boyfriend who must face the realities of a long-distance relationship after she overstays her student visa and is shipped home to the UK. Captured beautifully by Anton Yelchin (Charlie Bartlett, Star Trek) and Felicity Jones (The Tempest), Jacob and Anna must find a way to make their relationship work while their everyday lives seem to pull them further apart.

The film, directed by Drake Doremus, seems trivial at first: young love is separated and their idealistic desires begin to create friction in their relationship. However, upon spending time with Jacob and Anna both together and individually, the audience is wrapped into their feelings of abandonment and conflict, selfishness and longing. Both Jacob and Anna struggle, not with fidelity, but with the halting pace of their connection. Their relationship is on again, off again — but it’s never long before they find the familiarity of the other’s embrace.

As Jacob and Anna reconnect throughout the years following college graduation and their forced separation, it becomes obvious that the success of their love is based on two factors: convenience and chemistry. While both are certainly of value in a relationship, it seems troubling, although not entirely surprising, that the two young adults have built their entire romance on these two concepts. This detail is hammered home when Anna’s parents suggest marriage as a solution to their visa troubles and the lovers react with surprise and uncertainty.

Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones portray long-distance lovers learning to face the realities of their relationship. (SCREEN CAP)

Yelchin shines in his role and is perfect as a down-to-earth, patient boy; a carpenter and furniture designer. His character’s occupation seems to reinforce the idea that Jacob is always the one left behind, rooted in place like a tree from which he takes his craft materials. His gift to Anna early in the film — an uncomfortable-looking wooden chair that she absolutely adores — represents him perfectly: well-built but not universally attractive, the inside joke to their relationship.

Like Crazy also succeeds in that the beginning of Jacob and Anna’s relationship never seems rushed despite being forced into a quick montage that shows their initial flirtation unfurl over the course of a school year. A scene that cuts through different clips of the couple sleeping entwined in different positions manages to illustrate quite simply the immediacy and quick development of their attraction.

The film has been rumoured to be based on Doremus’ personal history. Media interviews with his wife reveal that many details of the film (down to the timing of the storyline and details of the visa complications) are remarkably similar to their real-life story. With this in mind, the pain of separation experienced by Jacob and Anna seem all too realistic, which is perhaps why certain scenes are almost difficult to watch.

Even so, audiences both cringe and rejoice with the couple though all their lows and highs. As the film comes to its conclusion, viewers begin to realize that no matter what Jacob and Anna thought was the right way to do things, it’s clear there’s no road map for love.

Presented at the 27th Sundance Film Festival in January 2011, Like Crazy garnered a Grand Jury Prize in the dramatic film category and Jones won a Special Grand Jury Prize for her portrayal of Anna. It’s since been picked up by Paramount Vantage and was released to mainstream audiences in late October.

Feature Photo: Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones portray long-distance lovers learning to face the realities of their relationship. (Screen cap by Stephanie Ip.)

Review: The Penelopiad

During my early years at UBC, I fought with a lot of pressure coming from different places on the merits of an arts degree in the real world. It speaks to the larger issue of how art, literature, creative writing, theatre, music and so on can contribute to society. While some folks are more inclined to write these off as ‘hobbies,’ I think it’s pretty obvious by now that these areas help us to communicate the human experience beyond numbers, reports and dry facts.

THE PENELOPIAD plays at the Stanley Theatre until Nov. 20, 2011. (ARTS CLUB PHOTO)

The Original Desperate Housewife

The Arts Club’s current production of The Penelopiad is the perfect example of how the arts and modern-day life can intersect, helping us to further understand our world.

The Penelopiad is Canadian writer Margaret Atwood‘s take on the famous tale The Odyssey. In Homer’s original story, Odysseus, the Greek king of Ithaca, spends a decade fighting the Trojan War and spends another decade finding his way home. Atwood’s version, however, explores that same 20-year time period but from the perspective of Odysseus’ wife, Penelope, who waits at home in Ithaca. While Odysseus is known for his resourcefulness, Penelope must also channel that same quality to fight a very different war on home turf.

After Odysseus’ departure, the young girl is quickly thrust into control of the household. Following the death of her in-laws, she must also learn to cope with the aggressive affections of suitors and the difficulties of raising a son. Luckily, she has in her company 12 young and loyal maids who help her to weave a tricky lie to fend off the suitors. The disastrous result, however, is heartbreaking and wreaks guilt even on the hearts of audience members who watch helplessly as the tragedy unfolds on the lives of the maids.

Modern Day

Unbeknownst to me, my season tickets happen to land on Talkback Tuesdays of each month. It’s always an interesting experience to hear from the actors themselves.

One of the questions posed was about the modern-day relevancy of The Penelopiad, a play of war, abandonment and traditional cultures. Meg Roe, who plays Penelope in an achingly beautiful and hauntingly graceful manner, responded with the suggestion that Atwood’s play gives a voice to the unheard. (NOTE: I’ve since been corrected that it was actually Dawn Petten who brought up the connection with the Missing Women Inquiry.) She believes that the play is highly topical today and specifically noted its connection with the Missing Women Comission of Inquiry currently taking place in Vancouver.

Missing Women Inquiry

The inquiry, which explores why so many missing DTES women were left uninvestigated during the Pickton era, has drawn national attention, both positive and negative. If you’ve driven through downtown Vancouver recently, it’s possible you’ve encountered protesters who are unhappy with the way those cases have played out, demanding justice for their fallen sisters.

While The Penelopiad certainly doesn’t address those issues directly or in detail, I believe it helps by voicing concerns about those who deserve and seek justice. The play itself is about giving a voice to the voiceless, telling the other side of the story; it brings light to those who can’t plead their own stories. Just as the Missing Women Inquiry hopes to hear the families of victims who have long been left in the dark, The Penelopiad shares the other side of the story and explores how a different kind of battle occurred while Odysseus was away. The play is really about finding justice for those who’ve been wronged.

In retrospect, many aspects of the play may have struck me differently if I’d approached The Penelopiad with the Missing Women Inquiry in mind. A week later, I find myself still turning over and over the different conflicts and issues the play brought to light, examining them through the filter of its modern-day connection.

The Arts Club's THE PENELOPIAD features (clockwise from top) Meg Roe, Laara Sadiq, Rachel Aberle, Ming Hudson, Sarah Donald and others. (DAVID COOPER PHOTO)

In Performance

Despite the morbid nature of the play’s outcome, the cast does a stellar job of playing out the seductively eerie storyline. The choreography and movement add another layer to the story and stretches the audience’s imagination into the wildest, most terrifying places. That credit goes to Denise Clarke, the play’s movement designer.

While Atwood does not state a preference on the makeup of actors, The Penelopiad is commonly played with by an all-female cast, with many doubling up on various roles. Roe addresses the audience as her story’s narrator, candid at times and often casual and relatable. So realistic is her retelling of the story, however, that when she fears for her life, we also feel the same grip on our throats. Colleen Wheeler also deserves mention, doubling as a maid and as Odysseus, realistically commanding and assertive as the king of Ithaca.

There’s much to be said about good chemistry within a cast but The Penelopiad is one example where there’s an obviously high level of trust between the actors. Some of the play’s key moments are difficult to watch and likely heartwrenching for the actors to perform but it’s clear the cast wholeheartedly believes in the words they speak, in their armstrokes and in every step.

The Penelopiad plays until Nov. 20, 2011 at the Arts Club’s Stanley Theatre. Tickets are still available and can be purchased at an Arts Club Theatre box office, by phone at 604-687-1644 or online at www.artsclub.com.

Featured Photo: Meg Roe as Penelope in the Arts Club’s production of THE PENELOPIAD. (DAVID COOPER PHOTO)

Review: Next to Normal

There’s a stigma around mental health that’s been poked and prodded in recent weeks here in Vancouver.

Former Canucks player Rick Rypien was one of three NHL players to die this off-season in the midst of mental health struggles. The VPD recently released its second report detailing how police officers become defacto health workers when dealing with the DTES’s mentally ill. It’s a huge deal and it receives media attention but for some reason, we still don’t really know how to approach mental health issues in our every day lives.

Performed On Stage

The set for the Arts Club's production of Next to Normal was designed by Ted Roberts. (GOOGLE PHOTO)

I saw the Arts Club Theatre’s production of Next to Normal earlier tonight at Vancouver’s Stanley Theatre. The musical, fresh off a hit Broadway run, three Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize, details how mental health issues have gripped a seemingly “normal” suburban family and how they choose to deal with it.

Diana (played by the wonderfully talented Caitriona Murphy) is a mother of two whose fractures are slowly starting to creep up into her marriage. Dan (Warren Kimmel) is her devoted husband who lovingly learns to work with her sporadic and wild swings of emotion. Gabe and Natalie (Eric Morin and Jennie Neumann) are their two children, emotionally distanced from each other as if they’d never met. The rock musical is composed by Tom Kitt and the book is by Brian Yorkey.

Illustrated Through Music

Though its format is a musical and mental health is a serious issue, the two concepts meld seamlessly, thanks to Kitt and Yorkey’s careful interpolation of each character’s voice. The music is wildly enthusiastic, an illustration of the mental states of each character at various points of the story. Voices constantly drop in and out of the main theme of each song, often with overlapping and competing lines.

Although there are points where the stress of the demanding vocals begins to peek through, it bears repeating that these actors perform the show eight times a week and have no understudies to rely on. All things considered, I’d still argue that the music is probably one of the more catching qualities of the production, subtly driving home points about how mental health affects us without us realizing, how it drives us in different directions.

 Private Struggle

Each character fights their own private struggle that runs parallel to the family’s main conflict — Diana is slowly becoming more and more unhinged as she bounces between treatment options. (It’s hilariously outlined in a sing-song grocery list of medication followed by, “These are a few of my favourite things.”) It’s not until part way through the first half of the play when we realize there’s something deeper and darker than just being chemically imbalanced.

Diana’s pain draws on emotional depths that are exposed in violent and frightening ways. The story does this by spending a fair amount of time examining how Diana’s actions have affected her 16-year-old daughter Natalie. As we watch Natalie meet a boy and develop a relationship, we begin to fear that history will repeat itself as we watch her spiral into a similar pattern as her mother — each of their flaws are reflected in the other.

Promotional poster for the Arts Club's production of Next to Normal. (ARTS CLUB PHOTO)

Feeling Everything

Without giving away too much of the plot or sharing my own personal history, the musical is rightly sold as “the feel-everything musical” — I felt it all. Thought its subject is dark, there are moments of hilarious clarity that give the audience hope throughout. Although my real-life situation is vastly differently from the story on stage, I could feel myself becoming attached to the struggles Natalie experienced when dealing with her mother.

While many films, plays, musicals, productions are predictable and follow format, Next to Normal presented so many different opportunities to its characters. I was never really sure whether Diana would survive the insanity presented at the beginning of the story but by the end, you become so attached to the characters that you can’t help but support their decisions and feel as though things will be okay. The story, characters and the issues discussed draw in the audience and force us to examine how a family falls apart and attempts to put itself back together again.

Next to Normal plays until Oct. 9, 2011. Tickets are still available and can be purchased at an Arts Club Theatre box office, by phone at 604-687-1644 or online at www.artsclub.com. I highly, highly recommend you check it out if you’ve got the chance.

Featured Photo: Eric Morin, Jennie Neumann, Caitriona Murphy and Warren Kimmel star in the Arts Club’s Next to Normal. (DAVID COOPER PHOTO)

Feature: Live@YVR

Last week, I was assigned to spend 24 hours at YVR with Jaeger Mah, winner of the airport’s Live@YVR contest. Sure, it sounds a little ridiculous to think spending a whole day at the airport constitutes news but it’s one of those rare assignments that are just plain fun for the heck of it. Plus, news isn’t always politics and crime — sometimes, it’s just sharing something with readers that they don’t get to experience themselves.

For the majority of my 24 hours, I hung out with Jaeger and his childhood friend Dallas, running around the airport, filming different people, places and plain ol’ cool things to do at YVR. I even got to hang out in the cockpit of an Airbus A330. Not a lot of people can say they’ve done that. We saw the ins and outs of the airport, a lot of cool things going on that the public generally doesn’t get to see.

Anyway, Jaeger invited me to be in his video and I reluctantly agreed — I’m not exactly a broadcast kind of girl. Strangely enough, I enjoyed it even though I didn’t appear on camera once the whole year I was in journalism school. I usually stuck to being behind the camera. The video’s been posted and it’s a pretty fun clip. You can check it out below.

Now, a couple quick answers to some questions I’ve fielded. I’m sure Jaeger will appreciate these…

Is the guy legit?
Yes, Jaeger is legit. He’s funny, outgoing, carries himself well, is very comfortable on camera and just likes to kick back and grab a beer. A lot of people saw his original entry video and thought that he was a little too self-promoting and was trying a little too hard to sell himself. The point many miss is that the entire contest was about finding the right person to be YVR’s storyteller.

When Jaeger and I sat down for our interview, I asked him about this and he admits that the video is definitely a video resume of sorts. The thing people need to realize, however, is that Jaeger didn’t put on a persona when he appeared in his entry video. The friendly, very relaxed guy that you see is very much the same Jaeger in real life. You might wonder if I’m falling under the same spell Patrick Fugit experienced in Almost Famous. I thought maybe I was too. After all, Jaeger is quite charming — it’s how he won this contest. Later, I cracked a joke and his friend Dallas said, “You can come party with us in Port Alberni anyday.” Humour crosses boundaries and barriers and we connected over that. The fact that my type of humour seemed to be their kind of humour showed that we were operating on a different level than just the typical “media” relationship.

Did I ask Jaeger any uncomfortable questions? Some. Did we crack jokes that were “off the record?” A little. But the thing about balancing your relationships in this business is that you need to know where to draw the line. I didn’t give Jaeger any reason to mistrust me and he didn’t try to sell me any crap. It’s about straight-shootin’. I don’t doubt that having his good friend around at the same time probably helped him to feel more relaxed than if it had just been me and a him — a reporter and her interview subject.

While some of you still don’t believe me and are still convinced Jaeger probably tried to sell me a good story, you should know that he’s also wary himself. During our time together, he mentioned that his favourite people at the airport asked nothing of him, unlike others who try to slip in here and there a small detail they hope Jaeger will promote via the Live@YVR project.

Isn’t this just a promotional tool for the airport?
Yes and no. The goal of the project was to celebrate YVR’s 80th anniversary and to tell the world about all the great things YVR has to offer. That’s PR speak for promoting the airport so yes, in a way, it’s really just a promotional tactic to sell the airport. However, it’s not something the communications team is shy about. Spokeswoman Rebecca Catley told me the team loves the airport so why wouldn’t they want to show it off to the world? If businesses benefit from that, then that’s great too. The great thing is that from this one PR tactic, a whole slew of stories and an entire community has emerged to welcome the world’s prying eyes.

There are certain assignments that are arranged for Jaeger to cover (i.e. exploring the bag hall to see where your luggage goes, introducing Air China’s new businesses class cabins) and some are quite obviously promotional in nature. But through these assignments, Jaeger’s been able to dig up little stories here and there, details that give the airport character and flavour.

The night I was on assignment, Jaeger was assigned to cover Air China’s new business class cabins. While doing his interviews, he began to chat with David Solloway, Air China’s senior advisor Canada, about a ton of other things. Solloway’s whole family is in aviation, a long legacy of pilots and airline professionals. I didn’t catch the whole story but Jaeger is hoping to go back and share more of Solloway’s story. Catley, the YVR spokeswoman I mentioned earlier, shared a story with me about how her dad is able to recognize a plane’s engine just by the distant sound of rumbling. It’s histories like these that Jaeger’s been trying to share with the world.

So whether you think living at the airport for 80 days is weird, cool or just a corporate sales tactic, don’t shun Jaeger because of it. He’s a cool guy with some big dreams and an interesting way of sharing stories. I highly recommend you follow his blog over the second half of his YVR residency and see what else there is to explore at YVR.

Here’s a couple of my favourite shots from the 24-hour adventure.


Jaeger Mah looks out the window of his Fairmont YVR hotel room. Photo by Stephanie Ip.


Jaeger Mah sits in the cockpit of an Airbus A330. Photo by Stephanie Ip.


Jaeger Mah chats with Air China’s senior advisor Canada David Solloway about
the brand new business class cabins on an Airbus A330. Photo by Stephanie Ip.


Jaeger Mah steals a quick bite to eat in between shooting segments for CNN. Photo by Stephanie Ip.

Featured Photo: I caught a quick catnap in the terminal while on my 24-hour assignment. Photo by, yes, me.

First Listen: Greyson Chance – “Unfriend You”

Before I got into journalism full-time, I spent years working with youth outreach programs. High school wasn’t that long ago for me and even when I was in high school, I felt a bit like an old soul. At the time, everything was a big deal and when something went wrong, it seemed like the end of the world. While I know that’s not the case, that’s something we only understand in retrospect.

Anyway, one of the joys of working with kids and youth is being able to see the potential within each person even before they realize it themselves. I’m a big believer in giving young people opportunities to grow and learn, to cultivate talents and strengths long before they’re ready to do so. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more you encourage it, the more it’ll take shape. So that’s my explanation for why Greyson Chance caught my eye.

“Paparazzi”

Greyson Chance first caught international attention for a Youtube clip of him covering Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” at a festival. First off, this kid has legit talent. There’s something about him that is just absolutely natural. It’s true that you can practice, practice and PRACTICE playing the piano and singing but there is a certain quality to this kid that is undoubtedly born from within. I’ve worked with kids his age for years and to see this 13-year-old just completely own the performance is ridiculously fun to watch. Pay attention at 3:00. You don’t just learn how to do that.

The Bieber Treatment

I don’t want to paint them all with the same brush but at the same time, there’s no other way to describe it. Greyson Chance got The Bieber Treatment. What’s The Bieber Treatment, you might ask? It’s simple. It’s like a coming-of-age party of sorts. Young star releases their first music video with a somewhat decent music video concept, shiny production and execution, covered with the safest possible parental guidance rating.

“Unfriend You”

1. Concept. The music video concept is good. It’s adorable. He likes a girl who likes someone else. But now he’s going to pick himself up, carry on and “unfriend” her. Sounds dorky but that’s the day and age we live in. (How many times have you introduced youself and followed it up with, “Oh, I’m so-and-so on Twitter”? Never? I don’t believe you.)

2. Production/Execution. Is there money being thrown into this music video? For sure. You can tell it’s well done. The problem is… really? You had to slick it up that much? The problem with shiny packaging is that it makes me question the actual quality of the product. It’s distracting, really.

3. Parental Guidance. This is my favourite part. I can’t get over it! They’re so adorable! His ex-girlfriend does nothing you wouldn’t do in front of her parents (that we can tell, anyway). Greyson goes to a totally radical party where obviously underaged teens are drinking Coca-Cola and some unknown company’s sponsored fruit drink. Don’t forget the dance circle! Not that they can dance… but it’s cute to watch them try. THEN PING PONG! Like, real ping pong and not just beer pong! I can appreciate that. And the grand finale? Totally harmless but awesome TP’ing of the ex-girlfriend’s house. NICE.

Growing Up and Moving On

Don’t get me wrong. I know I sound a little sarcastic but I legitimately want to see this kid do well. He’s got real talent and he seems to not buy into the Bieber Experience just yet. No fancy footwork, no fancy over-production… just a kid, a piano and one hell of a voice. Maybe if he keeps getting opportunities thrown his way, he’ll be able to become much more than just another Youtube-breakout-MTV-teeny-bopper sensation. He could have an honest, long-term career. Now wouldn’t that be a nice change from everything else in today’s music industry?

P.S. “You’re beautiful and crazy too / Maybe that’s why I fell into you.” OH, GIRL.

P.P.S. I totally would’ve had a crush on him if we had been the same age. No joke. Army jacket? Chucks? Totally clean-cut fun? I’m in.

Feature: Kulth Festival, Coombs, B.C.

Kulth: The Little Festival That Could
July 16 – 17 in Coombs, B.C.
Featuring Ron Sexsmith, Stars, Aidan Knight and more.

By STEPHANIE IP

Anyone who’s ever been to a music festival will tell you that it’s pretty easy to make friends. There’s just something about camping alongside fellow music fans that does something to break down social barriers. As someone who attended their first music festival this year, I can vouch for that.

The Kulth Festival, however, wants to take that one step further.

The Music Festival Next Door

“What we’re trying to do is create an environment that’s a little more … community oriented. It’s a real grassroots type of thing,” said James Boatman, Kulth Festival’s music director. “We strive to make everybody matter.”

The Kulth Festival, which is in its inaugural year, is being held in Coombs, B.C., just minutes outside of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. July 16 and 17 will see the festival set up for two days of music, art and community fun.

“We want people on both sides of the fence to feel like they’re going over to a friend’s house. It’s something a little more intimate,” Boatman said of the festival’s approach.

The Kids Are Alright

Despite the selection of festivals to choose from in the Pacific Northwest – Sasquatch, Bumbershoot, Live at Squamish and so many other smaller festivals – Kulth knows that there is a specific niche of festival attendees who are looking for a family-friendly event and not a drunken four-day bender.

Boatman described the kids’ zones being set up near each stage where families can relax without missing out on performances. The festival’s organizers – many of whom have kids themselves – have also included children’s musical acts and family activities.

Keep It Green

Another interesting twist: Kulth also aims to be a completely environmentally sustainable festival. While many festivals include green initiatives into their organization, Kulth builds its identity on the Coast Salish land where it takes place.

“Picking a (Coast Salish) name like that brings in that we’re aware of where we are we are and our surroundings,” said Boatman, adding that the festival will not be selling bottled water, but instead, selling $4 re-usuable bottles and providing water-refill stations.

Additionally, the Nanaimo district has a “zero-waste policy,” which Kulth will be taking into account. Festival organizers will measure all resources brought into the festival and at the end of the weekend, all waste will be calculated, leaving organizers with an idea of how much waste was produced, a number that they will aim to lower in 2012.

“We would hope whatever people are bringing, they’re bringing reusable products … anything that would not be left behind.”

Keeping Famous Company

Although Kulth is young and will be competing against larger festivals in the area, their lineup is nothing to scoff at. Boatman, who has been in the Vancouver music scene for more than 15 years, had more than his fair share of connections to tap into when he agreed to become Kulth’s music director.

“We’re playing with good karma. We’re very lucky they said yes,” Boatman said of Canadian indie darlings Stars. Of the festival’s main headliner, the legendary Ron Sexsmith, Boatman added, “He’s just one of these guys that we think is a Canadian icon.” Other acts include TopLessGayLoveTeknoParty, Current Swell, Louise Burns, Memphis and Piper Davis.

“I think the island has a number of little festivals and we want to maintain this high quality of artists so we’re doing something a little different there. We’re going to bring in some bigger name artists,” Boatman said. His own personal highlight, however, is homegrown talent, Aidan Knight.

“He just blew us away. He’s the next thing,” Boatman said of his first experience with Knight at Canadian Music Week months earlier.

Aidan Knight – “Knitting Something Nice For You”

Starting At Square One

How the festival fares in its first year, however, remains to be seen. While organizers originally planned for 2,000 people, the city has since notified Kulth the festival grounds can hold close to 5,000. But Boatman is realistic and understands that it’s merely a “stepping stone.”

“We would be happy with under a thousand people. We understand it’s the first year,” Boatman said. “We just hope people come and we hope we do a good job for everybody.”

Louise Burns – “What Do You Wanna Do?”

Tickets are available to purchase at Red Cat Records, Beatstreet Records, Zulu Records and Subeez Café. Adult weekend passes are $135; youth/student/senior weekend passes are $100. Adult single day tickets are $65 – $75; youth/student/senior single day tickets are $50 – $60. Camping prices vary. Children under 12 years are free. For more ticket information, visit http://shop.thekulth.ca. For more festival information, visit http://thekulth.ca.

Photo: Ron Sexsmith, Google Images.
Video: Aidan Knight – “Knitting Something Nice For You”, Youtube.
Video: Louise Burns – “What Do You Wanna Do?”, Youtube.

Vancouver band Said The Whale’s gear stolen in California

Vancouver band Said The Whale is currently touring through California but unfortunately, have had a ton of their gear stolen. The lock on their trailer was cut off and thousands of dollars worth of gear was stolen. Because they’re still on tour and have a ton of shows coming up, they’ll need to replace everything while in the States. So if anyone can hook them up, please do so! Your best bet to contact them is via Twitter at www.twitter.com/saidthewhale.

Otherwise, keep an eye out for these items:

Gear:

  • CB snare drum (SN: 204656)
  • Simon & Patrick acoustic guitar
  • Harmony Sovereign acoustic guitar.
  • MicroKorg (SN: 018904)
  • 2 x glockenspeil

Guitar Pedals:

  • Ibanez Tube Screamer
  • Danelecro Daddio boost pedal
  • Electro Harmonix “Holy Grail” reverb pedal
  • Electro Harmonix “Memory Toy” delay pedal
  • Boss tuner pedal
  • Diamond bass compressor
  • Korg Pitch Black tuner pedal

Miscellaneous Gear:

  • An assortment of planet waves patch cords
  • Shure SM58 microphone

Fresh Roast: The Java Hut Bakery & Cafe.

Java Hut has a quaint little collection of books for people to browse through while waiting for their coffee. Photo: Stephanie Ip

The Java Hut Bakery & Cafe
Location: 767 West 16th Avenue at Willow Street.
Features: A small library, a TV, wireless internet.
Drink: Javachino ($4.75).
Other: Espresso, drip coffee, tea, smoothies, blended coffee drinks, pastries, wraps, sandwiches.

On a recommendation from a friend, I decided to check out The Java Hut Bakery & Cafe. The name sounded familiar but that might be because it’s a pretty cliche, generic coffee shop name, don’t you think? But of course, my suspicions were confirmed: The Java Hut is not so much a chain coffee shop, but a franchise brand.

Location, location, location

While The Java Hut doesn’t exactly enjoy a prime location on a major street, its location tucked away just off Cambie Street ensures that it’s never too busy or crowded. Across the street from an Italian restaurant and a hair salon, the coffee shop is surrounded by apartments and seems like a great place to go for those who live in the area but not quite a destination coffee shop for anyone who lives beyond five blocks.

Getting the goods

While there’s nothing spectacularly unique about the menu, I appreciate that they’ve got a full display case of wraps, sandwiches, and pastries to choose from. Their menu features breakfast, lunch, and dinner items, along with the usual coffee drinks. They also offer a good selection of cold blended coffee drinks for those hot evenings in the summer when you just need to get out of the house.

I also love the set up of the coffee shop. Located right on the corner of Willow Street and West 16th, the shop has a large wrap around patio with plenty of space for a warm summer night. Inside, there are tables and chairs throughout and even a couple of couches hidden in the back. The shop has a TV, as well as a small shelf of books and magazines for people who are browsing and just killing time.

Java Hut has a wide range of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack choices. Photo: Stephanie Ip.

Recommendation

Since The Java Hut isn’t exactly convenient to get to, it really is just a local community coffee shop for those who live in the area. If you’re willing to make the trip though, it’s a nice place to spend a summer afternoon or to chat up your neighbours.

Keep checking back for the next stop on my whirlwind Vancouver coffee shop tour!

Featured photo of The Java Hut Baker & Cafe by Stephanie Ip.

Fresh Roast: The Grind & Gallery Coffee Bar

The Grind serves espresso drinks, drip coffees, smoothies, and blended coffee drinks. Photo: Stephanie Ip

The Grind & Gallery Coffee Bar
Location: 4124 Main Street at King Edward.
Hours: Open 24/7.
Features: Gallery displays by local artists, free wi-fi.
Drink: Caramel Macchiato ($4.85)
Other: Espresso, drip coffee, tea, smoothies, blended coffee drinks, pastries, wraps, sandwiches.

I’m not really quite sure how The Grind became one of my favourite coffee spots but seeing as how I have a tendency to do trade sleep for meandering conversations about life, it definitely helps that The Grind is open 24 hours a day.

Where else to go?

When I usually head to The Grind, it’s late in the evening and either a friend is or I’m having a nervous breakdown. All we really want is a place where we can rehash our dismal mid-20s experience and brainstorm ways to find gainful employment and survive the carnage of romantic relationships.

Alisa Lokshin, 23, who seemed to be doing just that, likes The Grind for the same reasons.

“I like that it’s open 24 hours so you don’t have to worry about when it closes. You can just be like, ‘Oh, the Grind is open. Let’s go there,'” Lokshin said. “That’s most of the appeal ’cause most coffee places close early.”

Others who visit The Grind, do so because they are “hittin’ the grind.” Students filled the coffee shop on the night that I visited, with most of the tables covered with textbooks, notes, papers, and laptops. The shop seems small at first glance but the counter hides a whole other room that seems to be designated for silent study.

Grind it down

The menu is sparse but has all the necessary staples. Espresso drinks are available, as are drip coffees, teas, smoothies, and blended coffee drinks. While the menu isn’t exactly simplified for the sake of quality over quantity, it caters to the late-night crowd that just needs something to keep them going while pulling an all-night study session.

The same goes for their selection of food. The Grind sells wraps, pastries, squares, loaves, and cookies. While not of stellar quality, again, it’s enough to keep a hungry stomach going through the next few chapters of class readings. Everything is reasonably priced between $1.50 to $6.00.

The Grind features artwork and photography from local Vancouver artists. Photo: Stephanie Ip.

Recommendation

The Grind is definitely not the go-to destination for a coffee connoisseur, but it is a good place to sit and study for a couple hours, especially in the evenings and of course, in the middle of the night. Its location at Main and King Edward is easily accessible and yet, far enough away from the distractions of other busy corridors.

Their free wi-fi is helpful for those working off a laptop and the room in the back helps to separate those who are desperate for silent study time from those who just need a  place to chat late at night.

Keep checking back for the next stop on my whirlwind Vancouver coffee shop tour!

Featured photo of The Grind & Gallery Coffee Bar by Stephanie Ip.